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2019 Kia Sportage GT-Line S 48V Mild Hybrid Review

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Driven: 2019 Kia Sportage GT-Line S 48V Review

We tested out the latest version of the successful Kia Sportage with the 48V mild hybrid system. Find out here how the car got on.

What is the 2019 Kia Sportage GT-Line S 48V all About?

The Kia Sportage has now been running for 25 years believe it or not. With well over 100,000 cars being sold yearly to European customers alone. Over the years the car has been refined and distilled into the credibly well-polished car you see before you.

Here we have the top of the line Kia Sportage GT-Line S. As you can see from the pictures the car has a sporty flair because of the GT-Line S trim level.

This includes a new design gloss black radiator grille gloss black and silver skid plates, and dark chrome inserts on the front bumper and side sills. If you take a closer look at the headlights you will notice the ‘ice cube’ design from the previous model has been moved up from the lower bumper into the headlight design.

From the side, there is a very nice set of 19-inch alloy wheels which now fill the arches nicely with 245/45 R 19 tyres.

At the back, you will notice there is a nice dual exhaust rear valance which you won’t really notice isn’t real until you get down to ground level to look at the car.

The test car uses a 2.0-litre diesel engine which creates 182 bhp and 400 Nm of torque. The power goes through a new 8-speed automatic gearbox to all four wheels, which means the car can get from 0-60 mph in 9.2 seconds and will do a top speed of 125 mph. There is a mild hybrid motor here also.

How Does Mild Hybrid Work?

The stand out feature for this car is the EcoDynamics+ 2.0-litre diesel mild-hybrid powertrain. A 1.6-litre mild-hybrid is also available.

The hybrid system uses a compact 0.44 kWh 48-volt lithium-ion battery. The primary goal of the setup is to extend the off time of the engine and reduce emissions and improve MPG.

The motor is connected by a belt to the engine crankshaft. The system is capable of turning off the engine under in-gear deceleration and braking, then instantly firing back up the engine once the accelerator has been touched.

The motor is also able to provide power up assistance to the engine reducing engine load and emissions when running.

How Does it Drive?

The driving experience that Kia provides in the Sportage is exactly what I wanted out of the SUV. The car has keyless entry and start. So you are straight in and moving, no hassle.

The ride comfort from the Sportage is just right. For a car with 19″ alloy wheels, the car rides exceptionally well. Most potholes are skated over easily. When you do hit a bump in the road, the Sportage does all it can to smooth the ride and settles very quickly after.

The handling of the car is very light most of the time, even with 5 passengers inside. The car feels easy to handle around cities. When you have an open road the handling characteristics of the car are still responsive enough to keep you engaged, so don’t think it is another dull SUV.

The hybrid qualities of the car are actually not that visible to the driver. The car can’t drive around in an electric mode at all. As it is a mild hybrid the motor is only there to assist powering up the engine. What you will notice is that the car is very aggressive when it comes turning off the engine when it is not needed. If conditions are met, when you are not using the accelerator the car will do its best to turn the engine off, if cruising, deaccelerating or stopped.

In fact the only real tell of what the car is doing with that electric power is via the screen on the dashboard.

All the extra engine off time that you get with the car you do feel like you are saving fuel, without a doubt and it does add a more calming experience to the cabin.

Owners will be pleased to know the car is also an NCAP 5 star rated. The car is packed full of different systems designed to keep you safe such as – Lane Keep Assist, High Beam Assist, Speed Limit Information Function, Anti-Lock Brakes with Electronic Brake-force Distribution and Brake Assist, Electronic Stability Control and Vehicle Stability Management. The list goes on further too.

Other clever bits of technology include a 360-degree Around View Monitor that gives a birds-eye view of the car when parking, which most buyers will find very useful on a car of this size.

What’s it Like Inside?

The inside of the Kia Sportage has never looked so mature and grown up. The car now uses a lot of quality materials and is built to a great standard. The interior is balanced between cost and quality but meets in the middle nicely.

The niceties inside include a black leather steering wheel, black leather seats with contrasting red stitching, and dual-zone climate control with ioniser. Then comes the technology, the car has sat nav, USB and AUX ports, Bluetooth music streaming, DAB radio and 8 speaker JBL speaker system. This is very easily controlled from the larger 8-inch central touch screen, the system works well and ticks all the boxes expected by the modern customer for sure.

Practicality wise there is lots of cabin space for 5 passengers. Plenty of small item storage and reasonable boot space. The car benefits from the equipment on the GT-Line such as a lovely panoramic sunroof, which makes the cabin feel even more spacious. Plus a couple of other nice features like a heated steering wheel for those cold mornings and a smart power tailgate that will open up for you even when you have your hands full.

The Experience

The Sportage in GT-Line S is one of those cars that fills the needs of so many people. Testing the car for a week just makes it difficult to say no to the Kia Sportage.

It is simple to live with, it is so comfortable in every way possible. Getting yourself, your stuff and other people into the car is so easy.  Day to day life in the UK is made easier with the Sportage.

The engine performance of the car is great for most people but if you know you will be sitting in a lot of traffic, then the automatic gearbox and mild hybrid system also compliment city driving.

Verdict

The Sportage is beyond question an incredibly well thought out and developed car. It has a perfect balance when it comes to a mid-sized SUV for many reasons. In GT-Line S trim the car looks great with its large wheels and sporty body design. It is incredibly practical too.

Adding the mild hybrid element to the car might confuse a few customers thinking it can drive on battery. But once experienced you can understand how the car reduces emissions, improves MPG and makes for a relaxing experience.

As ever with Kia remember you are getting piece of mind with the 7 year / 100,000 mile warranty, it’s remarkable.

Specification

2019 Kia Sportage GT-Line S 48V Specs

  • Price: £35,140
  • Engine: 2.0-Litre Diesel
  • Power: 182 bhp
  • Torque: 400 Nm
  • Transmission: 8 Speed Automatic
  • 0-62mph: 9.2 Seconds
  • Top speed: 125 mph
  • Weight: 1,747 kg
  • Economy combined: 40.4 mpg (WLTP)
  • CO2: 152 g/km
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